Talk about good timing. As the dust settles on the Memphis Grizzlies' blockbuster deals that essentially saw Rudy Gay traded for Ed Davis, Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince, the Washington Wizards look to take advantage of a distracted, still-gelling roster. And after back to back losses to the struggling Kings and 76ers, the Wizards need every advantage they can get.
Unfortunately, it looks like those three newcomers are playing after all.
Where and When? Tip off is at 8 p.m. at the Verizon Center.
Are They Good? Yes, although they won't be as good as normal tonight. Memphis comes into tonight's game with the NBA's second-best defense and 17th best offense when adjusted for pace. While the Gay deal improves the team in a number of ways, it's unlikely that the new players will be able to quickly adjust to new roles with new teammates. If so, Washington should be in for an easier game than they normally would against Memphis.
Why Should I Care? You're not just a little curious to see how Memphis plays in the aftermath of the deal?
What Are They Good At? Memphis has two defining characteristics: they're huge and they defend. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are excellent rebounders and post scorers who love to take advantage of undersized big men. Washington, fortunately, is well-equipped to deal with Memphis' Twin Tanks.
The Wizards are going to struggle with Memphis' aggressive defense, though, especially without Beal available. Memphis' backcourt forces a lot of turnovers and loves to gamble, something that a shooter like Beal who excels at moving without the ball can repeatedly burn. With Beal out, Tony Allen and Mike Conley are going to be able to focus all of their defensive energy on making John Wall's life hard, so another 70 or 80 point night isn't out of the question.
What Are They Bad At? The Grizzlies' two main weaknesses, shooting and depth, were at least partially addressed of with the acquisitions of Davis, Prince and Daye. However, Washington should still have at least some success packing the paint while hoping that the physicality of Nene, Kevin Seraphin and Emeka Okafor can wear down Randolph and Gasol.
Why Does Washington Struggle Against Them? The Wizards have lost six of their last seven games against Memphis and are only 13-18 against the franchise since it's inception. At least over the last few years this has been largely a result of Washington's inability to guard big, physical teams, especially ones with high-scoring power forwards. Hopefully Washington will be able to turn things around now that Andray Blatche and Antawn Jamison have been replaced with the toughness of Okafor, Nene and Seraphin.
Where Can I Read More Reaction To the Rudy Gay Trade? Right here on SB Nation, of course.
Where Can I Read More About the Grizzlies? Check out Straight Outta Vancouver.
What are your predictions for tonight's game? Vote in our poll and sound off in the comments!